Our Caring Together Service has re-opened for face-to-face groups. We know the people we support have had a difficult time with long periods of shielding and without the usual support and connections that they need. We have Covid secure guidelines in place to make sure we keep people safe as they return and groups are running on slightly smaller numbers. Restarting our groups is essential in helping people to rebuild connections and to engage in creative activity. Our Lambeth services are still running on a virtual basis whilst we secure venues to get restarted. We hope they will be open soon.
People living with dementia and their carers have suffered particular hardships during the pandemic and its essential they get back their community support services. 64% of carers have not been able to take any breaks at all in the first six months of the pandemic and 78% of carers reported that the needs of the person they care for have increased (Carers UK 2020, Caring behind closed doors). From our own twice yearly evaluation Carers told us that their sense of wellbeing had declined from 86% in Sept 2019 to 63% in March 2021. People living with dementia told us that their sense of companionship and community had declined from 73% to 63%.
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We are delighted to show you our Age Exchange Gallery. Our virtual gallery has been created so we can show you the wonderful art works the many participants of our services have created since March 2020 when the pandemic hit and from when our groups reopened. The art works in our gallery have been created by service users living with dementia and their carers. We have been inspired by the beautiful and moving art works they have created during such a challenging time for each of them. We have called our first exhibition “Lockdown." The different galleries reflect the different activities and interventions we created to support people at home during the pandemic, including for a brief period in response to the reintroduction of face-to-face sessions back at Age Exchange.
We would like to thank the National Lottery Community Fund and Arts Council England for supporting Virtual Day Care and making this exhibition possible.
We offer a broad programme of training and support services for people and their carers living with dementia together with regular training and support for Reminiscence Arts Practitioners and community workers.